Sep 29, 2016
In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America, HPM Sheikh Hasina played down accusations of clamping down rival parties, saying that there is plenty of political space for opposition in Bangladesh and that people are holding meetings and rallies without facing any obstacles. In reference to the political mistake committed by Bangladesh Nationalist Party in boycotting the last parliamentary election, the Premier said that recently the party took part in local government elections. On countering terrorism, she said her government, through awareness campaigns, has been able to increase the involvement of the people against terrorism and violent extremism.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revised upward the growth forecast for Bangladesh with a projection that the economy is set to secure a staggering 7.1% growth at the end of this fiscal year. According to the ADB's Development Outlook 2016, the economy awaits an unprecedented growth and optimism is lent out that the scale of growth would break the government estimate of 7.05% by 0.5%. Aided by revived exports and sustained domestic consumption, an assortment of policies, supervision and diligent efforts Bangladesh has secured more than 6% growth over the last six years.
Shirshendu Biswas, a class-IV student at Patuakhali Government Jubilee High School, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on August 15, in request to her help to build a bridge over a river in his locality. In a prompt response, the Premier has assured the schoolboy of taking steps to build the bridge on the Payra River that he has to pass through on his way to school. All the national outlets and people from all sane quarters heaped praise on the Premier for demonstrating her benevolent and vigilant gesture and taking such swift steps.
British Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma MP has lauded the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina for her unyielding political commitment and relentless struggle in tackling down the menace of terrorism and extremism. Introduction of a zero tolerance policy, coupled with, a strong supervision have made it harder for the transnational terror rackets to operate in Bangladesh, said the minister. The appreciation came when Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali had a bilateral meeting with Sharma on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Bangladesh's Presidency has been highly praised by the representatives of the least developed countries (LDCs) and the friends of LDCs at the annual ministerial meeting of the LDCs, held last week at the UN Headquarters in New York. According to the media reports, the attendants commented that Bangladesh, under the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina, is rapidly marching towards the middle income threshold in consonance with its 'Vision 2021'. Bangladesh State Minister of Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam said that an enhanced resource package, Technology Bank, remittances and strong resilience are essential for achieving 2030 Agenda and the IPoA.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
In a bid to give the railway sector a complete overhaul, a deal has been forged between the government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under which the latter pledged to provide the former with $1.5 billion fund in several phases. The entire amount will be spent on setting up a key train line, which is part of the Trans-Asia Railway network, and will also improve Bangladesh's access to Myanmar and beyond. To be built between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, this route, once installed, would also connect southeastern Bangladesh to the Trans-Asia Railway network.
A move is underway to complete feasibility studies and detailed designs of the existing national highways for further development and making suitable for serving as regional corridor. Of the total 2,352-kilometre (km) national and regional roads of the country, the feasibility study and detailed design of 1,752-km has already been completed. Two more projects for construction of 190.4-km road from Elenga to Rangpur and Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil also witnessed a marked progress.
A target has been set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to bring an additional 127 garment factories under its Better Work (BW) programme by next June, to ensure greater social compliance and workers' rights. Since 2013, as many as 120 factories have been brought under the scheme and 98 registered, employing 201,995 workers while the number of global buyers is 31. In a related development, a Two Step Loan (TSL) refinancing fund has been formed to strengthen building safety of garment factories through short to long-term finance.
As a result of successful diplomatic efforts put in place by the government, some 10,77,000 undocumented Bangladeshis working overseas have becoming legal in three different countries. Of the workers, the Saudi Arabian government legalized around 8,00,000 undocumented Bangladeshi overseas workers, Malaysian government 2, 67,000 and Iraqi government 10,000 workers. Moreover, the number of beneficiaries of the stipend programme for migrants' children has been doubled from this year to help continue their education.
Works are going on full swing to overhaul the Siddhirganj Power Plant (SPP) at a cost of $4.8 million to ensure smooth power generation and transmission. The move coincides with the government’s electoral pledge to ensure electricity for all by 2021. The SPP, which has a 210-megawatt capacity and located in Narayanganj district, has been running on commercial basis since its commissioning in 2013. In a span of seven years, under the Awami League led government, the country witnessed 76% of the entire population gaining access to electricity while the generation capacity soared to a record high.
As part of stepped up efforts towards power energy saving measures, the government has undertaken a scheme to install Improved Clean Cook Stoves (ICS) in 30 million households across the country by 2030. The programme has been taken in conformity with number-7 target of United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Protection of child and maternal health, reducing air pollution and smoke free cooking would be ensured with the installation of the Improved Clean Cook Stoves.
Jute farmers have got handsome returns this year thanks to rising demand for jute and jute sticks both at home and abroad. According to experts, the implementation process of the Mandatory Jute Packaging Law-2010, rising demand for raw jute and jute-stick charcoal in the globe and an increase in production helped the farmers in getting such handsome returns. Last year, the government imposed a ban on export of jute to ensure smooth supply of the fibre for local mills involved in production of sacks, hessians and yarn.
Country’s annual outpour of maize, world's number one cereal crop, reached the new high of 2.75 million tonnes in 2015-16 and 90% of the home-grown maize is feeding a burgeoning poultry and fish feed industry. Though the maize revolution came hand in hand with the rise of poultry and fish feed industry, government is now trying to promote maize not just as a feed crop, but also as a food crop. According to a recent US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) report, farmers in Bangladesh earn over $2,275 by investing $1,421 for every hectare of maize.
Bangladesh has become the chairman of a new coalition, bringing some low-lying countries together aimed at preventing floods and rendering urban deltas resilient against climate change. For the next one year, Bangladesh will hold the chairmanship and secretariat of the Delta Coalition. Being the largest delta in the world, the complexity involving it necessitates Bangladesh's adopting a long-term integrated plan that can adapt to change. The Netherlands is helping Bangladesh to implement the ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100’.
An agreement has been forged between Bangladesh and Russia for easing the movement of diplomats and officials without visas. During a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries, the possibility of a visit by the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to Dhaka sometime in early 2017 was also discussed. Moreover, the Russian side showed interest in formalizing a few agreements, including inter-governmental cooperation and maritime cooperation and sending a delegation to Dhaka to carry the ongoing discussions forward.
In a space of only seven years, a digital renaissance has been ushered in the ICT sector with the industry setting its footprint on the global stage and the market growing to a staggering $300 million. In this year, an amount worth $204.2 million has been allocated from the national budget, up from only $25.5 million seven years back. A number of milestones have been witnessed as a result, including internet users crossing the six million mark, the price for bandwidth internet falling down to a record low, government services going digital and a total of 5,275 digital centers being set up across the country delivering 200 public services to the rural people.
As part of the Best of Global Digital Marketing World Tour 2016, a conference took place in the capital, aiming to help take the Digital Bangladesh movement a step ahead. The event covered all areas of digital marketing, including social media, mobile marketing, content marketing, big data and real-time marketing. Around 20 case studies were covered in depth, with examples of creative work, interviews with clients and their agencies.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives